The new coalition government would be foolish to scrap England’s social work reform programme in order to save money, the chair of the reform board has said.
Moira Gibb today told Community Care Live that people were understandably concerned about the future of the Social Work Task Force recommendations, which the previous Labour government accepted in December 2009.
“I know people are keen to ensure that we have security about the work that we’re doing will carry on progressing. I don’t have that,” Gibb said.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne will outline £6bn in spending cuts next week.
The government has yet to commit to supporting the 10-year plan to overhaul social work in England, but Gibb urged ministers to recognise the widespread consensus in the sector in favour of the reforms.
“We’ll have to wait and see what the new ministers with these responsibilities think,” said Gibb, chief executive of Camden Council.
“But there’s a momentum,” she added, urging social workers to build on this. They could have their say on the proposed national college of social work and other aspects of the reforms to improve training, conditions and the status of the profession.
“If we get enough momentum, a politician would have to think not just twice but three times about whether they would want to stop and start again.
“This [reform programme] is good enough to be getting on with – it has mapped out a better future for social work in this country.”
Jo Cleary, co-chair of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services’ workforce development network, said: “It’s important that the reform programme doesn’t get lost in the new government.”